Many doctors are prescribing addictive opiate prescription drugs like Vicodin without providing an exit plan. That is, dangerous prescriptions are often extended without a clear-cut path people can follow in order to stop taking these drugs safely. Even though all sorts of experts, including the prestigious Consumer Reports state that opioid medications like Vicodin aren’t the best choice for control of long-term pain, especially when compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Motrin, the fact remains that many people begin taking Vicodin for a pain issue, and they continue to take the drug for years. As a result, millions of Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. Vicodin, an opioid-based prescription painkiller, is one of the most common prescription drugs abused.
The Orchid has built a drug addiction treatment program specifically for women, made up of a variety of therapeutic options that are holistic in nature and speak to a woman’s experience. This article will outline how treatment programs work, and it might encourage more women to get the help they’ll need in order to improve.
The Importance of Vicodin Treatment Programs
Vicodin is an opioid-based medication most often prescribed for pain management. It works by chemically binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord and essentially serving as a buffer between the brain and pain. Certain side effects accompany this relief including:
- A sense of euphoria, depending upon the dose
This euphoric sensation is often what encourages abuse of the drug. In order to achieve this sensation, users might take very high doses of the drug, well beyond what is prescribed. This not only creates a physical addiction to the drug, but also puts people in jeopardy of an overdose. The cost of medical treatment and emergency room visits due to Vicodin overdose and abuse is one reason why Vicodin treatment programs are so important. According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, drug abuse was noted in 1.3 million hospitalizations in the United States in 2005, adding up to $9.9 billion in costs. Opioids such as Vicodin top the list of drugs named as the cause of these hospitalizations. It’s a bit staggering to think of the community good that could come about if this money were to be used in another, more helpful way.
People who are addicted to Vicodin might pay their own price due to addiction, and this cost might be incredibly hard to bear. As the addiction moves forward, these people may face significant damage to their personal relationships and their emotional health. The fatigue that Vicodin causes can make addicts late for work or unable to focus on conversations. Keeping up with others’ lives and with work projects is difficult. As a result, addicts may find that friendships fail and relationships with family members are strained. They might lose their jobs, their homes and their financial security. All of this damage could be avoided, if only these women would get treatment.
Understanding the Need for Treatment
Without a Vicodin treatment program, it’s difficult to detox off the medication and return to an abstinent life. Vicodin addiction might begin with habits, as the addict chooses to take the drug and then kick up the dosage over and over again in order to feel a more powerful response. However, as the addiction grows, the use moves from the addict’s control into the realm of the physical. The body has adjusted to the presence of the drug, and the body needs that drug in order to feel “normal.” Without access to Vicodin, the user might feel jittery, sick or simply depressed.
Going through Vicodin withdrawal alone might mean enduring these symptoms for a short period of time and then returning to drug use to make the symptoms stop. Going through a supervised withdrawal, or detox, might mean getting help for those symptoms and therefore completing the process. According to an article produced by Medline, the most common medication used in opiate withdrawal is clonidine, and this drug can reduce symptoms of:
- Twitching muscles
- Running nose
- Cramping stomach
Some detox programs for Vicodin also provide opioid replacement medications like methadone and buprenorphine. These drugs latch onto the same receptors used by Vicodin, and they can block the withdrawal symptoms people so commonly face as they attempt to wean away from drugs. Not all Vicodin addicts need these medications, however, so they’re not commonly provided to all people who need care.
In general, people who feel symptoms of withdrawal when they attempt to stop taking Vicodin, or who feel discomfort between doses of Vicodin, should go into treatment centers for detoxification, instead of attempting to complete the process alone at home. These people have a physical addiction to the drug, and a supervised withdrawal and detox process is the best way to help them move forward with recovery.
Treatment doesn’t end with detox, however. In fact, detox should be considered the first step a woman must take on the road to a Vicodin addiction recovery. When she has completed detox, she needs to enter a formal treatment program for addiction. Here, she can participate in therapy and learn more about addiction, and she can pick up skills she’ll need to stay sober for the rest of her life.
Choosing the Right Treatment Program
There are two basic options for Vicodin treatment: an inpatient, residential facility that is immersive and comprehensive in providing round-the-clock care and support, or an outpatient treatment program that focuses on educational workshops and interactive therapy.
Inpatient programs are generally considered the go-to choice for people who have long histories of Vicodin abuse and addiction, including people who have attempted to stop taking the drug on their own and found that they were unable to do so. These advanced cases of addiction can be difficult to eradicate, especially when the person is surrounded by constant reminders of the addicted lifestyle, so it’s best for these people to sign up for the intensive care that an inpatient program can provide. People who have underlying mental illnesses might also benefit from inpatient care. These people tend to have more severe symptoms of addiction when they present for care, according to a study in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and they may not perform well in the facility during the first few months of treatment. However, as the treatment began to take hold, those who had both an addiction and a mental illness did just as well in treatment as those people who did not have a mental illness. In other words, while having a mental illness can make an addiction more severe, people can heal if they get the appropriate help. Inpatient facilities might be the best places for them to get this help.
Outpatient programs might be appropriate for people who have:
- Supportive families
- Sober friends
- Reliable transportation to treatment facilities
- A short, uncomplicated history of addiction
These people might be able to rely on their families as they work through their addiction issues, and they might be at a very low risk of relapsing to use due to the strong social connections they have at home. While not all people who are addicted to Vicodin fit this profile, those who do might be able to continue to live at home while they access addiction care on an outpatient basis.
Women also have the option of choosing a single-gender or mixed-gender program. While mixed-gender programs might be easy to find, and they might provide care at a low cost, there are some benefits of a woman-only program that are hard to replicate in mixed programs. For example, women-only programs provide a safe environment in which women might feel more able to share past experiences and enjoy a more thorough and honest recovery. This might be especially important for women who have childhood issues that make them distrust men. For example, the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that more than 50 percent of women in treatment for addiction had endured sexual or physical abuse in childhood. These women might not be comfortable discussing their abuse in front of men, but they might be more likely to open up in front of other women. It’s vital that women uncover all of the paths that led them to Vicodin addiction, so honesty is important. For some women, that honesty can only come in a woman-only program.
Women-only programs might also provide additional services that are tailored for the wants and needs of women. These programs might provide art therapy, dance therapy, animal therapy or knitting, all of which could become outlets for hobbies for the women as they heal, and all of which might help women to learn how to express their true feelings in nonverbal ways. While these might not be important interventions for men, who are often encouraged by the culture to speak their minds on a regular basis, they can be vital interventions for women who are often encouraged to stay silent, no matter what happens. Women-only programs understand these vital differences, and they work hard to ensure that women are allowed access to treatments that might help them.
Treatment Programs at The Orchid
We provide both inpatient and outpatient treatment options for women who are addicted to Vicodin alone or in combination with other drugs or alcohol at The Orchid. Each of the therapy options available have two things in common: they were chosen based on evidence proving them to be particularly effective for women in recovery, and they each contribute to a holistic, comprehensive treatment plan that each woman can customize in conjunction with her clinical team.
Creating a support system made up of other women, both peers and staff members, allows you to carry your treatment experience back into the world. We encourage our clients to form strong friendships with one another and to share their thoughts and their opinions openly. Many women who enter our programs form lasting friendships with those they interact with at The Orchid, and these women know they can lean upon one another as the recovery process moves forward. We also provide a strong aftercare program, providing clients with a solid foundation for their new life of abstinence. Instead of placing our clients in the world alone when treatment is done, we stay in touch and we provide help as needed to ensure that the Vicodin addiction doesn’t recur.
If you would like more information about our facilities, grounds or staff, contact us at The Orchid today. Vicodin can be a difficult foe, but treatment can make all of the difference.